PIL plea on Shiradi Ghat reaches logical end after a decade


The ghat section is set to open as concreting of the second 13-km stretch is nearing completion

As concreting of the last 13-km stretch of Shiradi Ghat is set for completion by this month end, one of the two public interest writ petitions before the High Court of Karnataka — seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into irregularities in repair works of Shiradi Ghat and concreting the ghat stretch — reached a logical end after a decade.

Bengaluru-based social activist B. Krishna Bhat had filed two PILs before the High Court in 2007, appalled by the pathetic condition of the ghat stretch that was battered following movement of overloaded goods vehicles, particularly iron ore-laden trucks. The court in October 2008 ordered a CBI probe into ‘periodical’ repairs of the ghat and also directed its restoration.

It, however, took another seven years for the governments to begin concreting work when the first 13-km stretch of the ghat was concreted between January and August 2015 at a cost of ₹75 crore. Though contract for the second package of 13 km was awarded in November 2015, work began only in 2017 at a cost of ₹61.57 crore.

Advanced technology

With inputs from civil engineering experts, the National Highways division of the State Public Works Department had asked contractors to lay geo-textile sheets after the foundation and below the dry-lean and paver-finish concrete layers. This was to prevent oozing of underground water that destroyed the road surface earlier.

Though both the contracts provided 18 months’ time, as per the procedure for completion, the contractor was able to complete the work within half of the time limit after deploying state-of-the-art machinery. The entire ghat stretch, which had a width ranging from 5 to 8 metres, now has a uniform width of 8.5 metres with concrete thickness of 45 cm.

A senior PWD official said the road should last at least for the next 30 years. The traffic volume has been around 21,000 passenger-car units (PCU) per day, he added.

DPR ready for green bypass

Special Correspondent


A detailed project report for the proposed 22-km green bypass that can offer seamless drive avoiding the ghat section through Shiradi is ready and the National Highways Authority of India has to take it forward.

Sources in the State Public Works Department told The Hindu that the project, initially estimated to cost about ₹2,200 crore, now might cost over ₹12,000 crore. It involves 8-km tunnel roads, 4-km high-arch bridges, and the rest normal road between Gundya in Dakshina Kannada and Heggadde in Hassan district.

Besides skirting curves, the green bypass will also reduce the distance and travel time through the ghat by almost half.

A relief for many

Special Correspondent


Besides being the crucial link between the coast and Bengaluru, Shiradi Ghat has also been the lifeline of people living on its flanks in Dakshina Kannada and Hassan districts. Several eateries and vehicle repair shops have come up in non-forest areas.

Abdul Rahaman, who runs an eatery near Manjarabad Fort off NH 75 since four decades, remembers the highway’s existence since it was a single-lane road. Till up to 2000, only buses and goods vehicles plied on the stretch, after which the traffic volume increased phenomenally, he said.

Sakleshpur resident B. Manjunath blamed iron ore-laden trucks and bullet tankers transporting LPG for the earlier mess on Shiradi Ghat. He was shocked to learn that ₹33 crore spent on its repair in 2007 was ‘washed away’ within months.

Fish merchant Akbar in Sakleshpur was relieved on learning about the opening of the ghat as he can now get fresh fish supply from the coast in a short time.

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Printable version | Dec 13, 2019 10:32:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/pil-plea-on-shiradi-ghat-reaches-logical-end-after-a-decade/article24248175.ece

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